Our host, Pastor Isaac Estrada, is the “Every Home for Christ” director of Nicaragua. He was asked to let us experience life as a Nicaraguan, learn the culture and walk through
life as he lives it. He did exactly that! After arriving in Nicaragua, we went to our first
host home with a young family of five. With three young boys we were entertained and felt very welcomed by Denis and Marisela. Their dream, to have a home they could share with missionaries came true. Through many miracles they moved into their home just a month before we arrived and we lived with them for the first 2 weeks of our trip.
We started off our ministry by going house to house with Pastor Isaac’s church. We divided into two groups and covered the neighborhood calling out “Hola”, “Hola” (Hello, Hello) at each house. The people would come to find out who we were and we then engaged them in a conversation about the love of God. Connie, Gene and I could not speak Spanish so we had an interrupter which worked out well. A few times we met people who spoke English and they were happy to speak English with us.
We found that many Nicaraguans knew God but had turned away from their relationship with Him. We praise God for this time of pointing them back to the cross and letting them know God still loved them, several renewed their salvation while others promised to think it over and talk with the Pastor later. For those interested, someone from the church took their name, address and phone number so that they could be re-visited. During the six weeks, we had sixteen days of house to house evangelism working with seven churches in many communities all over Nicaragua. There were 125 people who were saved or who rededicated their life to Christ during these visits! This was the first time the three of us had done house to house visitation so we were stretched and amazed at how God worked through us. Thanks to those of you who joined us in prayer asking God to prepare the hearts of the Nicaraguan people to be receptive to the Word, they were waiting to hear what we had to share. One young father stood holding his son and crying as we talked. He explained that as a child he served God but had turned away. Just that morning he realized how empty his heart was, how lonely he felt and had cried out for an answer. God sent us to his door with an answer to his prayer.
On Friday night we were asked to speak at Pastor Isaac’s church. Connie suggested we do a skit then Gene could speak. We did “The Mask” skit. A skit showing a person with a broken, hurting heart that puts on a happy face and pretends all is well. All the time God sees their heart and wants to heal them. We must all give our hurts to God and be set free so that we can truly be happy. Gene then spoke on God’s love and the response was good. The youth leaders asked us to come back the next night and speak to the youth. That night we did a skit on “Taking Our Authority”. It is easy to give in and do what everyone else is doing but often this leads to trouble. With Jesus in our lives we have the authority to say NO, make the right choices and live a life pleasing to God. Then Gene spoke to the youth encouraging them to read and obey God’s word, listen to the Spirit and follow God. Another good service. During our time in Nicaragua we visited twenty-three churches and spoke in twenty-one of those. Lives were touched, changed and encouraged, all praise to God!
Through “Every Home for Christ”, Pastor Isaac has reached out to several local schools. There is a team of young adults that go in and visit the students in their class room sharing about Jesus. They also have a small group of interested students they are teaching and training in the Word of God. We were able to speak to six classes in two different schools and share our testimony and an encouraging word.
Our third week we flew north to Waspan and spent several days ministering to the Miskito Indians.
They mostly spoke Miskito mixed with some Spanish so we definitely had to have an interrupter. This area is very poor and isolated, there is no mail service and very few jobs. There was a lot of sickness so we prayed with many people believing for healing. We saw one man who was deaf and dumb start hearing and talking. A lady who had lost 2 babies at birth was very sad and depressed. After talking and praying with her, she was saved and regained her hope in Christ! She had a beautiful smile on her face as we left and was praising God. We encouraged many to keep believing for the manifestation of their healing and know God has done a great work there. We returned to Managua, washed and repacked our clothes.
Next we were off to Bluefields in southeast Nicaragua. There we checked into a hotel and met the local Pastor. The next day we went house to house visiting many people, sharing the Gospel and encouraging them to trust God. We went to a part of town where most people spoke English with a Creole influence which was fun for us, we could speak directly to them. The people were so thankful that someone would take the time to come by, sit down and talk with them. We enjoyed our time in Bluefields, saw many people encouraged and several give their hearts to Christ. It was time for us to go back to Managua, wash clothes and take off again.
On this trip we drove northwest to Esteli and Sebaco. In both of these cities we stayed with host families. At Esteli we met the Pastor and went to the home where Connie stayed. She stayed with a lady, her daughter and
her 3 children. None of them spoke English so there was a lot of sign language and Google Translate going on. At our host home, we met Racquel, her husband and 2 children. They had a nice home and were great hosts! Fortunately for us her brother (or brother-in-law, not sure which) spoke English. He came over and made sure we were comfortable and had all we needed. The next day we found out Raquel knew some English so with Gene’s little Spanish we communicated well. The Esteli church was planning on building a new church just outside of town. On Sunday we went to that area and held a building fund raiser. They set up speakers, had a DJ playing Christian music while the women made a big pot of chicken soup to go with the goodies they brought. There were shoes, clothes, hats and all the ‘yard sale’ items for sale. Gene spoke on God’s love and how God will never leave us, in fact He is always with us even when we turn away. The youth in the area played a soccer game, after the game we had to leave. The next day we found out 23 people came to Christ that afternoon, praise the Lord. God has a great plan for that new church. We said goodbye to our Estili host families and moved to Sebaco. There we met the local Pastor and he took us to our next host home. A family of 5, Mom – Dori, Dad -Juan
Israel and 3 boys. We three all stayed together in this home and they did not speak English either. The oldest son, Juan Carlos is 15 years old. He, his friend Franklin and the Pastor took us for a walk. In the distance we saw a mountain with towers on top and that was the direction we were heading. Gene and the Pastor decided to run up the mountain, Connie and I stopped to take a break and breathe. Thankfully Juan Carlos and Franklin stayed with us and walked up at our speed. At the top we could look over the city, a beautiful sight but we saw dark clouds coming our way, we decided to head down the mountain. That night we went to the church and met some wonderful people. Gene spoke and we had a great service. The next day we went house to house and met several people with serious needs. We prayed with them and gave them scriptures to encourage them. As we walked around we met a group of women making tortillas, this was their job. They let us watch and Connie joined in and made her first tortilla then she got to eat it! We had a great time in Sebaco and really enjoyed staying with our host family.
Back to Managua where we traveled to the city of El Crucero the next 3 days. It was not too far but was a city at a higher altitude and the wind blew most of the time keeping it cool. This was a nice break since Managua was extremely hot, 98 degrees with 98 percent humidity! In the mornings at El Crucero we did house to house, at night we held church services. Each of us got an opportunity to speak at the night services here. The Pastor was very sincere and loved the people of his community. There was a stirring of the Spirit in El Crucero and I truly believe great things are coming for that church.
“Every Home for Christ” provided tracts to hand out. As we went house to house and walked down the streets we handed them out. The people accepted them and quickly started reading them. The fields are truly white unto harvest. We met people with great needs both physically and spiritually. God was right there ready to help. We traveled over much of Nicaragua, saw and experienced many different cultures and God was loving it! His hand reached out to all and many reached back. We felt a change in the atmosphere both for us and for Nicaragua. Those we prayed with are still in our hearts and we believe as the Pastors went back to visit many miracles have taken place, lives were changed.
We are now down south in Georgia and Alabama visiting family and friends. Everyone is well and we are enjoying our time together. So thankful the weather has cooled down and it is raining some. The South has been hot and dry the past few months so the rain is welcomed.
The next step for us is to go to Honduras to a language school and learn Spanish, our airline tickets have been purchased to leave in early July and to return in December. The middle of June we return to Colorado to pack all of our belongings. Some will be stored in Woodland Park, CO until we return in December, a few suitcases will be packed to take with us, hopefully not too much and we may even have a few things to get rid of, maybe a lot if Gene has his way.
Spending six weeks in Nicaragua convinced us we really need to learn the language. After staying with our first family and using Google Translate to communicate, we went to Pastor Isaac and Maria’s home. He knew some English and Gene knew some Spanish but we still had to have Google Translate to communicate when there was no translator. Spanish school here we come!
On July 5th we will be starting language school in Honduras to learn Spanish. We will be learning the language and culture of the Central American people for our continuing mission work. Our future is in God’s hands, He is leading us one step at a time. Our hearts are to reach the lost and teach God’s children to grow in Christ, wherever God leads us. As we learn Spanish we will be able to communicate and minister more effectively. We would love for you to share in all God does through us. Since we will be out of the country for the next six months, we will be sending out newsletters via email and will post blogs here on our website.
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Heart of the King Ministries, P.O Box 4018, Woodland Park, CO. 80866-4018
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Gene & Robin Willis